Weekly Letter to President Obama
Copyright © 2010
ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
March 11, 2016
Mr. President: Bernie Sanders surprised everyone by beating Hillary Clinton in the
Michigan primary. Those of us who are older find it astounding that much of what
Bernie offers would not have been averse to Eisenhower and Nixon. Yet he is painted
in the mainstream idea as an extreme radical even when, for example, a majority of
people support his proposal for a single-payer national health care system.
In education, we are busy undermining the public school system, a system that should
be a core value in democracy. The best school systems like Finland and Singapore
are public. In Germany, even the leading universities are tuition free. We used to
have essentially free university education in the 1950s through the GI Bill, and tuition
was nowhere near the exorbitant fees charged these days. It was also a period of
enviable egalitarian growth.
Not any more. We have now the most extreme concentration of wealth among
industrialized countries displaying a badge of shame, a Gini index value to rival some
of the world's poorest countries. And with the level of poverty rising, our answer is to
move the goal posts.
After nearly eight years in office, you blame Republicans. From immigration reform to
education, you have failed to deliver despite starting out with Democratic control of
the Executive, the Senate and the House. It is not Republicans who have hired a
corporatist with interests in charter schools to head the Education Department in a
complete volte-face of Democratic values. Like NAFTA the new trade deals will
continue to hollow out our economy as the better paying skills jobs continue to be
exported. Of course, real wages in this country have not increased since the 1960s.
So here we are in an election year. Two callow senators and a billionaire celebrity
figure, not averse to some demagoguery when it suits him, on one side, and a
$25-million-in-the-bank-from-one-year's-worth-of- speeches candidate, who is
leading, on the other -- not to mention her ethics problems ranging from supposedly
converting $1,000 into $100,000 in one year's commodity trading, Whitewater etc. in
the past, to the unsecured emails dogging her in the present.
That leaves Bernie whose contributions average $35 and who wants to level the
playing field just a little. Guess what! The corporatized mainstream media refuses to
give him a fair shake. A few more years of this and who knows ... a different kind of
demagogue might put this democracy out of its misery.